Heidi’s home is full, brimming with life and the activity of a busy family.
Her youngest son, a 6th grader, is in another room, engrossed in a complicated Lego construction. Her older son, a high school senior heading to college in the fall, breezes in, sweaty after track practice, and cheerfully chats with his mother and I, filling us both in on the highlights of his day.
And her daughter, not home during our interview, is finishing her sophomore year at a local community college. She’d gone away to college initially, but realized, at the end of her freshman year, that the school wasn’t a good fit for her.
It’s not surprising therefore, that life is a bit of a blur for Heidi and her recently retired husband-turned-entrepreneur.
What is surprising is the peace.
There’s peace – and a sense of joy in her home. I notice these as we sit together, cozy on her couch, sharing stories of motherhood. I wonder aloud how she’s achieved this joyful, peace-filled home.
Heidi doesn’t hesitate, “Conversation, on-going conversations. I’m not always ready, eager, or even prepared for these impromptu conversations. Many of them come at bedtime, when I’m just done. In those moments I rely on God for courage and wisdom.”
She and her husband have, with God’s help, encouraged their kids to engage in conversations, on a wide-range of subjects, since they were little. As they’ve grown, some of the conversations have been harder, more serious. But they’ve nurtured honest, open communication in their children and the payoff is apparent, even in my limited interaction with them on this interview day.
“We allow the full range of emotions – anger, within reason and without being hurtful, sadness, fear, happiness, joy. God has helped our family be ok with a spectrum of emotions. It’s been a great gift, and one of the most important tools for connecting with the hearts of our children.”
Heidi and her family have many on-going conversations because sometimes, those initial conversations can be very difficult and emotional. She and her husband intentionally work to come back around to those conversations, to finish them. Sometimes it takes weeks.
This is so different from my experience. I often ignored, shoved aside, or overlooked the hard, uncomfortable topics – a coping strategy learned long ago that didn’t serve my family particularly well during the unnesting process.
But for Heidi and her husband, both have willingly shared their life experiences with their kids. In turn, their kids have learned to openly share their lives with their parents.
I love Heidi’s heart and what she and her husband have achieved through the simple act of dialoguing with their children about everything – the hard, the ugly, the messy. All of it – the joys and the sorrows, all equally important.
“If I were to encourage anybody, it would be to allow the hard conversations,” says Heidi. “I have seen healing take place through conversations. I attribute that to God’s work in us. And with Him, there’s always hope.”
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.Psalm 27:13